Tuesday

Tuesday Meditations by Fr Adeodatus Rwehumbiza

Fr Adeodatus

Fr Adeodatus Rwehumbiza

Advent and Christmas

 

IN HIS DAYS JUSTICE AND PEACE SHALL FLOURISH

Dear Family of God,

Today we hear Isaiah prophesying good days of justice and peace when the Messiah comes. He had an interesting vision that the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid. Imagine such peace where a calf and the lion being led by a little child and the sucking child playing with a snake. He says “they shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain.

As we said yesterday that one of the tasks we have during this advent season is to ask ourselves whether what Jesus brought and taught is really what we are doing or experiencing and if not why? In essence what Isaiah prophesied was fulfilled in Jesus as Jesus says in the Gospel “Blessed are the eyes which see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets (Isaiah included) and kings desired to see what you see and did not see it…

We thank God for the little justice and peace we have; it is because of Jesus. But we continue to ask ourselves: are our eyes really blessed? Look at what we are seeing now: a wife and husband cannot stay together in marriage, couples are killing each other. Isaiah said that a little child will play with a snake but now children cannot play with their uncles or other relatives for fear they can be raped or killed even by their parents. Are our eyes really blessed? Isaiah said ‘they will not hurt or destroy’ but we see blood shed everywhere tribes killing each other.

Where have we gone wrong? It is time to ask for pardon and be humble like the infants so that we can see what Isaiah prophesied because God hides “these things from the wise and understanding and reveals them to the infants.

Together with the Spirit we should cry ‘Come Lord’ to restore justice and peace in our hearts, families and our country.

By Fr Achilles Kiwanuka

Console my People

Dear Family of God,

It is God’s will to remove tears and grief from his people. Today he is telling Isaiah to console his people Jerusalem and tell her that her iniquity is pardoned. One of the things that cause us or at least should cause us grief is sin because it takes us away from God the source of happiness. That is why Jesus had to come, as he tells us in the Gospel, to look of the lost sheep because “It is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

There are many around us who are grieved. Some are grieved because of the sin of others. We are also grieved on account of many things. Let us heed this call “Console my People.” Be a reason for people to rejoice wherever you are. Let us not be a cause for any in our families, relationships or workplaces to shed tears.

Let us also ask ourselves: does sin cause us grief or we rejoice at it? Do we really feel bad when we fall into sin? Or we are used to it and we enjoy it? Our sin affects us and may also affect others. In this season of advent, let us struggle to remove sin. Let us level all hills of sin that separate us from God and from others and cause conflicts and grief to us and others. In this way we shall be comforted and we shall have participated in the call “console my people.

By Fr Achilles Kiwanuka

Is our ‘YES’ yes?

Dear Family of God,

Today we are confronted with an example which challenges our commitments. One child says ‘yes’ to his father but does not do and the other says ‘no’ but he does. Who among these to do you identify yourself with?

We said yes to God during Baptism and often we say yes after confession and at the beginning of the year when we make some resolutions. How often do we say ‘I will do’ or ‘I will not repeat’ but we do the opposite?  This is our weakness. Our ‘YES’ is sometimes ‘NO.’

This advent season is a call for repentance and renewal of our commitment. Let us remember the ‘YESs’ that we have turned ‘NO’ and put effort to keep it YES. If the other child who had said ‘no’ repented and turned the ‘no’ to ‘yes’ we cannot also make a reverse and turn our ‘no’ to ‘yes.’

By Fr Kiwanuka

Lent and Easter

1st Week – Lent

Forgive us our sins

In the first reading God is assuring us that his word must accomplish what he sent it to do. His word during this period of Lent is “Repent and Believe in the Gospel.” Let us allow this word to be accomplished in us. Let us make fruitful this period of Lent by doing what the Gospel has told us today “Forgive us our sins.” We are sure we shall be forgiven and an old man in us will be destroyed and new man created.

His word again today is that “Forgive those who have wronged you; because if you do not forgive them, even my heavenly Father will not forgive you your sins.” As we struggle to restore our relationship with God let us also consider our relationship with others. We are called to recognize that we are not living with angles but human beings with their weaknesses. Therefore, as we acknowledge our weaknesses and ask for pardon, let us also understand that even others are weak and therefore, let us bury our anger, hatred and grudge and let it go all the pain we feel for having being mistreated by others and forgive them.

Again, let us also make a step and ask for forgiveness from those we have wronged and mistreated: our wives, our husbands, our parents, our children, our community members, our employees, etc. By so doing the Word of God during this Lenten Season will have really accomplished in us what it was sent to do.

By Fr Achilles Kiwanuka

 

 

“The Word of God Sanctifies”

It is in man’s nature to feel guilty. But this guilty is mostly aggravated if others keep reminding on the wrong done. Likewise, it is common in our communities to tend to amplify our voices over the guilty and wrongs of others. This habit stems from the ill tendency of making oneself look big by making others look small.

In fact, when we do something wrong we do not need reminders of the same. What we only need is compassion and forgiveness.

In today’s first reading, God gives a reminder – not of man’s sins but of his compassion and forgiveness. The Prophet Isaiah reiterates that the word of God is effective like the rain coming down and making the earth sprout with green plants. God’s word can also clean man’s iniquities. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool”.

Jesus is that Word of God. He is the victim who came to untie our burden and shame through his compassion and forgiveness.

Lenten season is the time set apart for us to contemplate on the suffering Jesus. It is time to take advantage of God’s compassion and forgiveness. It is time to point a finger at ourselves and to be fully aware of how we have failed, rebelled, sinned and – have much to be ashamed of.

A good way to measure our sensitivity in this area might be to look at our attitude towards the sacrament of reconciliation. When we go for confession what do we confess to? Do we just throw out a few latitudinal admissions or do we go deep into the areas where we truly fail in our relationship with God, with others and with ourselves? Or perhaps we do not go to confession at all because we cannot think of anything to say – while at the same time most of us would be very slow to reveal to others our inner thoughts and feelings because (to tell the truth) we are quite ashamed of them!! Paradoxically, it is a saint who is most aware of his/her sinfulness and need of healing.

Brethren, the word of God in the Lenten season calls us for conversion, renewal and positive change. Let us heed to this call and resolve to go for God’s mercy and compassion by renouncing our old selves and be sanctified by Jesus Christ, the Word of God.

Going away from God, one becomes a pray of the Devil

As Jesus gets ready for his ultimate sacrifice, his disciples are put to test. Peter and Judas both betray Jesus. The difference between the two is enormous. While Judas deliberately betrayed his Master for a material gain, Peter because of cowardice denied him with an oath and a curse. While Judas act was premeditated, cold and planned; Peter never meant to do what he did. He acted impulsively out of weakness and fear of harm.

John the Evangelist says that Satan entered into Judas when he rejected Jesus and left to pursue his evil course. Satan can twist love and turn it into hate. Satan can turn holiness into pride, discipline into cruelty, affection into complacency. It is true that Satan can deviate man from doing the will of God. But when those who are tempted meet the devil with the courage of the lion he has no power over them. When they fear, however, he comes with all the force and boldness of a lion.

As it is affirmed in the first reading, God assures Isaiah of his protection provided he remains faithful. Likewise, let’s not act like Judas and Peter. They were very close to Jesus, but they did not dispose themselves for his protection. Let’s take advantage of our closeness with Jesus in our struggle against the evil one.

The catholic tradition teaches that Satan can always be driven away by means of grace provided by the Church; by the sign of the cross, by invoking the name of Jesus and Mary, by the holy Water, by earnest prayer by rightful use of the sacramentals like the crucifix, and statues of other saints.

The more violent the assault of the devil, the greater will be the protection afforded by almighty God to his faithful servant.

The mysteries we celebrate during the Holy Week, call us to be on our guard lest Satan turns us from the love of God and the path which God has chosen for us.

Easter Octave

Acts 2:36-41 & Jn.20:11-18

It is about recognizing the Lord’s presence when we hear his word and partake of his body. From today’s gospel account, we learn how easy it is to miss the Lord when our focus is on ourselves and on our problems!

Mary did not at first recognize the Lord because her focus was on the empty tomb and on her own grief. It took only one word from the Master, when he called her by name, for Mary to recognize him. Mary’s message to the disciples, I have seen the Lord, is the very essence of Christianity. It is not enough that a Christian knows about the Lord, but most importantly that we know him personally.

It is not enough to argue about Jesus, but most importantly to meet him. In the resurrection we encounter the living Lord who loves us personally and shares his glory with us. The Lord gives us “eyes of faith” to see the truth of his resurrection and victory over sin and death (Ephesians 1:18).

The resurrection of Jesus, therefore, is the foundation of our hope – the hope that evil cannot dominate for ever. Hope that hardships will one time come to an end. Hope that we will see God face to face and share in his everlasting glory and joy. This is what St. Peter in his 1st letter testifies: “Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy.  As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9).

Let us pray that God, grants us the necessary graces to enable us recognize the Lord’s presence, in his word, in the daily celebration of the Eucharist, in our communities and; indeed, in our daily tribulations.

 

OUR GOD IS A GOD OF SURPRISE

Acts:32-7; Jn.3:7b-15

 

At one time, Pope Francis spoke about the surprises of God. That, “God always surprises us. God will inevitably continue surprising us. But we are so often afraid of God’s surprises and challenges.

Nicodemus is shocked when Jesus tells him that he must be born from above—born again. How could this possibly be? How can a person be born more than once? Jesus does not stop there. He says something even more surprising. The Son of Man must be lifted up like the snake that Moses lifted up in the desert. What does this mean? Nicodemus does not understand.

Our God is a God of surprises. When we look at the history of our faith, we see that God is constantly doing something new and unexpected. God creates everything out of nothing; God chooses a small and unimportant people; God chooses weak and sometimes strange people to be his instruments; God is born as a human being. Salvation history is full of God’s surprises.

The strange and wonderful thing about the surprises of God is that, even though they might be scary and push us in new directions, they are always for the best. In the end, God’s surprises, if we are open to them, bring us new life.

In today’s Gospel, Nicodemus doesn’t understand. He is surprised and frightened. In the end, though, we find the same Nicodemus at the foot of the cross, a disciple of Jesus, born again in the waters of baptism, saved by the Son of Man lifted up on the cross, and witness to the resurrection.

Briefly, the Gospel message today is that, TO GOD NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE. Let us then implore God’s grace to open us up to His surprises. A grace that will help us to trust that God’s actions, though frightening and sometimes uncomfortable, will bring us new life in through the Risen Christ.

Peace by Jesus and peace by the World

Week 5 – Easter

 

Dear Family of God,

Before he departs to heaven Jesus is leaving us the gift of Peace. But he says that the peace he gives us is not as what the world gives. What is the difference?

The peace of the world is based on material security. Many people seek peace in having money or material wealth or power. However, experience has shown that true peace is more than money. One can have all they want materially, money, houses, cars etc but they are not happy. And one may have little but they have peace.

The peace that Jesus Christ gives us is based on having good Relationship with God and having Hope of eternal life. Whether, you are rich or not, whether you are passing through difficulties or not, if you have good relationship with God and you have the sense of the future life, you are at peace. To the contrary if you have money and you are rich but you are not in good relationship with God and you place all you hope in worldly possessions you have no peace. If you use evil ways to obtain your wealth which takes you away from God you cannot be at peace. This is what is called “Vanity of vanities – like chasing the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

Jesus knew that as Christians or just human beings we cannot escape sufferings. That is why he tells us that in such situations “do not let your souls be troubled”; do not doubt my promises. Have hope; I am going to prepare good places for you. Things will be better.

Another difference is that the peace given by the world is based on having friendship with the world; conforming to the standards of the world; not wanting trouble of being different from others. This is the peace that most of us seek. We avoid being different from others, or being called all bad names. As a result we compromise the truth, our faith and moral standards so that we can be at ‘peace’ with no troubles from others. When our office mates, school mates, or business partners plan to do evil we are afraid to stand for the truth so that we do not get ourselves into troubles. We want ‘peace.’ Even Jesus on the cross he was told “Come down and we shall believe you” (Mk 15:32). It is like they were telling him: do not keep your stands too high; come down; compromise something and we shall be your friend.

The peace that Jesus gives is having good relationship with God by doing what is right even if the world does not like it. Paul in the first reading was courageous to stand for the truth even when he had to be flogged and dragged.

Let us pray that the promised Holy Spirit may help us to understand the nature of true peace and yearn for that and avoid the pseudo peace that the world pretends to give.

By Fr Achilles

If I do not go, the Counselor  will not Come

6th Week of Easter

 

Dear Family of God,

Jesus is continuing his farewell speech to his disciples. Because of that the disciples are grieved. They do not want to lose Jesus. It is normal even for us when our parents start speaking like they are giving us last words we become filled with sorrow; sometimes we prevent them from talking like that.

Was it necessary that Jesus had to go?

Jesus is telling them; ‘if I do not go the Counselor will not come;’ that it was to our advantage that he goes. Was it really necessary that Jesus had to go for the Holy Spirit to come? Yes, it was; the disciples needed the Holy Spirit to guide them in their preaching and to give them courage amid persecutions. They were now to disperse to all nations as they were commanded. If Jesus remained present in his body he could not be everywhere with them. In the body Jesus is confined to one place. It was therefore, necessary for him to go so that his Spirit could come who could be with them everywhere, all the time because the Spirit is not physical, he cannot be confined, he can be everywhere with them in their mission.

This became true as evidenced by what happened to Paul and Silas as given in the first reading. They were jailed but by the power of the Holy Spirit the earthquake shook the jail and all the doors were opened and their chains loosed. Later the jailer released Paul and Silas.

The Role of the Holy Spirit

  1. 1.      The Holy Spirit will Convince the world of sin, because they did not believe in Jesus

For the Jews (the world), in Jesus they killed a rebel, someone against traditions, a trouble maker. They were not convinced that it was their sins that took Jesus to the cross. It is the Holy Spirit that convinces us that it were our sins that killed Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit that convinced the jailer in the first reading to acknowledge his sinfulness and ask Paul and Silas “What must I do to be saved” The told him “Believe in Jesus.”

Let us pray that the Holy Spirit may give us and the whole world that sense of sin and the sense of shame that we may not see sin as normal; we may acknowledge our sins and ask for forgiveness.

 

  1. 2.      The Holy Spirit will convince the world of righteousness because Jesus is going to his Father.

For the Jews (the world), in Jesus they killed a rebel, someone against traditions, a trouble maker. It is the Holy Spirit who can convince them that they were wrong. Jesus is righteous; he came from the Father and now he is going back to his father. It is the Holy Spirit who convinced the centurion, when Jesus died on the cross to say “Truly, this was the Son of God.” It is like the centurion was saying “we were wrong; we have killed the righteous.” It is the Holy Spirit who convinced the jailer in the first reading to release Paul and Silas. It is like he acknowledged that “No, we were wrong to lock you here; what you are teaching is true; come out.

Let us pray that the Holy Spirit may convince the world of the truth taught by Jesus which is now being taught by the Church in matters of faith and morality. Let the Holy Spirit guide to the whole truth those nations that are passing laws to legalize abortion, homosexuality, lesbianism, oppressive laws and those that are killing Christians to come to their senses and say “we were wrong; truly what the Church is teaching is true.

  1. 3.     The Holy Spirit will convince the world of judgment

Let us pray that the Holy Spirit may convince us and the whole world that one day we shall come to God’s seat of Judgment to give an account of our life; that if we refuse to acknowledge the truth and acknowledge our sinfulness, one day we shall have to face judgment.

A Life Well Lived

 

Today we are presented with examples of the life well lived. Paul and Our Lord Jesus are giving the account of their lives. They both look back and find nothing but achievement.

What a blessing when we wind our lives and see nothing but achievement in our life? This will not come as a surprise. It will depend on how we live now.

Let us live a life worthy our faith so that we may rejoice at finish of the race and those who will be speaking or writing about us when we have gone will tell nothing but the truth.

YEAR I

 

Today’s Gospel brings forward one of the confrontational episodes between Jesus and the Pharisees. Indeed, it depicts a great difference in the outlook towards man that exists between Jesus and the Pharisees. While the Pharisees act rigorously in view of the Mosaic law, Jesus suggests an equitable attitude in interpreting God’s commandment.

God gave the commandment to keep holy the Sabbath and commanded his people to refrain from work in order to remember and celebrate His goodness both in creation and in redemption. It was a day set apart for the praise of God, his work and his saving action. Hence, observance of the Sabbath was not meant to put a barrier to the love of God and of neighbor.

Jesus’ answer to the Pharisees, further, shows that God is interested in people and not in rituals for rituals’ sake. A human person is more important than religious rituals. A human person is more important than systems and programs. It is true, as one writer put it, “the best way to worship God is to help man”. And a Biblical scholar, A.J. Ryle, cautions A man’s soul is in a bad state when he begins to regard man made rites and ceremonies as things of superior importance… It is a symptom of spiritual disease.”

Our love for God, therefore, is expressed in how we treat others. When we behave poorly towards others, then we are behaving the same way towards God Himself.

Let’s ask for the grace of understanding God’s intention with us. Let us honor Him in our work, in our rest and in the way we treat our neighbor.

I have come to do your will

 

Dear Family of God,

We are still at the beginning of the Ordinary Time of our Liturgical Calendar – just the 3rd week. The word of God is presenting to us the beginning of Jesus’ public Ministry. Jesus is calling disciples. He insists that those to be disciples have to do the will of God. He says “Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.

This response of Jesus to those who told him that his mother was looking for him may seem that Jesus was rude to his mother and did not feel anything with the love of his mother. This is not the case. Jesus wanted to show that his relationship with his mother is more than blood relationship. The dignity that his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary has is not because she is related to Jesus by blood but because she did the will of God “May it be done according to your will.” She is an icon of faith and an example of doing God’s will.

Therefore, right from the start of the year we are called to make our mind to doing God’s will. The writer to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus’ sacrifice sanctifies us and makes us able to do God’s will “To be in his presence and minister to him” (Cfr Eucharistic Prayer II). So, we should not be satisfied by being Christians as those who went to call Jesus – they were excited by the fact that Mary is the mother of Jesus – but our satisfaction should be in doing God’s will; to live our faith; to make faith direct our decisions and actions in everyday life. At all times we should say “I have come to do your will” and really do it.

Fr Achilles Kiwanuka

 

Jesus gives hope where there is no human cause for it!

The passage from the Gospel of St. Mark, we have just proclaimed, sites one of the many examples which show that people in desperate circumstances were not at all disappointed when they sought Jesus out. Indeed, what drew them near to Jesus was His word of comfort in their affliction. Many a time, Jesus gave hope where there seemed to be no human cause for it. As we have heard Him telling the woman with a twelve year hemorrhage, “Take heart, daughter, your faith has made you well”. And to a father who had just lost her beloved daughter He says “a child is not dead, but sleeping”.

In both instances Jesus shows a personal concern for the needs of others. Also, his readiness to heal and to restore life is quite evident. There is a clear epiphany of the infinite love of God extending to each and every individual he encountered.

We are challenged today to examine our attitude towards Jesus. With what mind-set do we go to Jesus? Like the general crowd in a pompous fashion? Like the disciples who were busy distancing the crowd from their master? Or Like the sick woman and the ruler of the Synagogue who took advantage of the visit of Jesus to have their spiritual issues sorted out!

Our communities have a blessing of having a multifaceted Jesus within them. We have Jesus in the Tabernacle; Jesus at the altar (in daily Mass); Jesus in the Liturgy of the Hours; Jesus in the form of neighbor and needy – Jesus, Jesus, Jesus everywhere! How do we interrelate with this Jesus?

The passage of the Gospel today invites us to re-shape our attitude and constantly approach Jesus with confident expectation that He’ll hear our personal and communal requests and act upon them.

Also, as we carry Jesus within us by virtue of the sacraments of initiation, let us ask for the grace to enable us imitate him by giving ourselves wholly and sincerely in the loving service of others. With St. Blaise, whose optional memorial feast is celebrated today, let each one of us pray:

Lord, all I need is your strength to help me overcome my human frailties. Help me that others might see YOU at work in my life. Amen”.

 

Gen. 1:20-2:4a; Mk. 7:1-13

 

Our words and actions should reflect the image and likeness of God within us!

 

The Gospel today mentions an instance of emphasizing the washing of the hands but neglecting the purity of heart. Jesus rebukes it in strong terms: “You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human tradition”

The first reading puts forward the basis of the teaching and ministry of Jesus. Man is created in the image and likeness of God. It is indeed this image and likeness of God that Jesus came to restore and redeem.

Jesus accuses the Pharisees and Scribes  specifically of two things. First of hypocrisy. Like actors, who put on a mask, they appear to obey God’s word in their external practices while they inwardly harbor evil desires and intentions. Secondly, he accuses them of abandoning God’s word by substituting their own arguments and inventive interpretations for what God requires.

Today’s Gospel warns us that although our external appearances are necessary but they can never replace the internal essence of what we are made of and who made us.

Let us therefore pray God that our words and actions should reflect the essence of the image and likeness of God within us.

Week 8 – Year II

The first reading from the book of Ecclesiasticus, calls us to honor the Lord with generosity and keep his laws. The reading reminds us that whatever we have has come from God. Therefore we should share it with others –so that they too may feel the love of God through us. Ben Sirach also tells us that those who give will be rewarded. At the same time, however, he warns that our generosity should not be for any show off, but genuine.

In the Gospel, Jesus responding to Peter’s crude, he makes it clear that those who left all for him would receive a hundred fold now, even in this life, as well as an unending life in the age to come.

This is the paradox of any faith-based vocation. The called lose what they keep and they gain what they give away. Likewise, when we lose our lives for Jesus Christ we gain a priceless treasure and inheritance which lasts for ever. This is what is reflected in the life of Saints, like St. Philip Neri whom we commemorate today. In his priestly ministry Philip Neri devoted himself to visiting the sick and prisoners, teaching children and hearing confessions. Such works of mercy and compassion won him the title of sainthood.

For such people, Jesus assures of one thing: No earthly good or possession can rival the joy of fellowship with the community of believers. No earthly good or possession can rival the joy and happiness of knowing God; and the peace he grants to his disciples.

In brief, if we place Christ before anything else then he will reward us but he also reminds us that fully living the Christian way of life will bring persecutions from those who are against the kingdom of God and against his believers. Hence, we should not be surprised if we lose favor and experience ridicule, intimidation, and injury when we take a stand for truth and righteousness. Those whom God loves most, he lets them to suffer.

A Good Christian must be a Good Citizen too

 

Dear Family of God,

Today we are taught that a good Christian must also be a good citizen. The Pharisees one of the religious groups among the Jews thought that they were exempted from civil obligations simply because they were religious. Jesus however, had a different teaching: give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God – a good Christian must also be a good citizen.

The coinage had several function: it showed the king’s power over all those who used the coin with his inscription. Since the coin had the king’s image it actually meant that it belonged to him. Therefore, paying tax using the coin they actually were return to Caesar what belong to him.

This is a very relevant teaching to us. Being created in the image and likeness of God, we submit to the power of God and therefore, all our life should be directed to God and should follow God’s commandments. We belong to God. On the other side, we are citizens of different countries. In that sense we should abide by the laws of the society and contribute to the growth of our society by paying tax, by working and being just in our dealings with others. If we are good Christians, our Christianity must be shown by our life in the society.

Let us learn from Tobit in the first reading. Being righteous before God, Tobit was not ready to accept the kid from his wife which she was given on top of her salary. He was not sure where she got it from; he was not ready to eat stolen items. Are we really clean in what we have? Did you pay tax for that car you use? Do you mind where your husband or wife gets money from? Or you just enjoy what is brought in the house? Do you know whether your husband or wife is not a drug dealer or human trafficker? Are you sure that the plot your living on was not grabbed from someone? Do you know whether your husband or wife does not receive more than one salary for the same job?

If we are good Christians then we must be good citizen; we must be clean also in the society. Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.

Fr Achilles Kiwanuka

Love your Enemies

Dear Family of God,

Today Jesus is continuing with his sermon on the mountain where he is overturning things and perceptions. Today he tells us to love our enemies.

Similarly, St. Paul in the first reading he gives us examples of unconditional and sacrificial love. Jesus who was rich did not count being rich a thing to be grasped but he emptied himself and became poor so that he can make us rich and by his wounds we are saved.

Likewise the people of Macedonia made themselves poor for their fellow Christians in Jerusalem. Our of the extreme poverty, Paul tells us, they gave beyond their means to support them. Let us do the same ‘make yourself poor to enrich others.’Love is simply an act of the will seeking good for others. Love therefore, requires sacrifice – to do everything for the good of others; to sacrifice yourself for others. That is why Jesus says that there is no greater love than this that a person gives up his life for his friends.

Jesus takes this love further, that we should love our enemies. This is to go an extra mile as we were told yesterday – if someone tells you go one mile, go with him two miles. Loving enemies requires greater sacrifice. It may appear difficult but an eye for an eye will leave us all blind. If we release to God those who hold in grudge and pray for their change is the way to go with those who wrong us. As one said, holding grudge for someone is like allowing someone to use your rental house with paying rent.

What will help us again is to trust in God, the living God and prayer for ourselves to handle such difficult times when we feel wronged and to prayer for those who wrong us so that they can change and stop being a snare to us.

Fr Achilles Kiwanuka

God rescues the Just

Dear Family of God,

The Word of God today, teaches us that the just is always in the hands of God and He will rescue him from the evil generation. When you commit yourself to doing good without conforming to what others are doing, God will rescue you even when other people send to you waves of hatred and speak evil against you.

This is what God did to Lot and his family in remembrance of his friend Abraham. When Sodom and Gomorrah did all kinds of evils and immorality, shedding blood of the innocent and doing all abominations, God picked Lot and his family to a secure place before he rained fire that destroyed the two immoral cities.

From this we can learn that if you are just and living in integrity, God knows you individually and will not punish you in the group, he will rescue you and reward you for being on his side. So, do not say ‘I will do like others. Why should I stand alone in uprightness while all the rest are taking bribes, for example, or are doing evil businesses.’ ‘For God, there is not kifo cha wengi ni harusi.’ Do not be ashamed to stand alone for truth, God is with you.

Sometimes, we fail to understand this mystery when we see how the wicked flourish and their families grow richer and richer while we continue suffering in spite of keeping God’s ways. To understand this, read Psalms 73. The Psalmist questioned God why the wicked flourish; he even wanted to abandon his faith and live like others because he thought he has troubled himself for nothing by keeping himself innocent.

Then the Psalmists says “until I entered your sanctuary, I understood what becomes of the wicked.” To enter the sanctuary is ‘to pierce the mystery’ – to understand how God acts. That is when he recognized that “God has put the wicked on a slippery path; even if they grow rich their end is not good.” So, he says “for me to be near God is my delight. Forgive me Lord because I was stupid when I thought you had abandoned me despite my being upright.”

When we see living ‘happy life’ while we know their businesses are not clean, or get bribes or they grabbed land or they killed to get what they have, we think we are lost and feel like living like them. Why don’t I take bribe and be rich? Why don’t I also steal and get rich.  We shall face the same punishment or even greater like that of Lot’s wife. Do not look back and envy those who are rich; you do not know how they got whatever they have; you do not know whether their richness does not smell blood or tears. Our prayer should be what we have in the Responsorial Psalm:

Because “I walk according to your truth

Do not sweep away my soul with sinners

Nor my life with those who shed blood

In whose hands are evil plots

Whose right hands are filled with a bribe

As for me, I have walked in my integrity

Redeem me and have mercy on me.

My foot stands on level ground (not like the wicked who are on slippery ground

and can fall at any time)

I will bless the Lord in the assembly.”

Even if all others do bad things do not be ashamed to stand alone in truth. God is with you.

By Fr Achilles Kiwanuka

Harden not your Hearts

Dear Family of God,

As we saw on Sunday, when we become simple and trust in God we are able to acknowledge our limitations and weaknesses, which enables us  recognize that we need God and therefore, open our hearts and listen to his word.

Sometime we take our pride for the journey and refuse to accept the Word or God, directives and warnings from other people simply because they are poor, simple and humble people or because we think we know it all.

Jesus says, it will be tolerable for Sodom that for us if we refuse to listen. God gives us opportunity to read Word of God, we have Mass, we have Sacraments something that Sodom did not have. If do not make use of all these but harden our hearts then we shall have no excuse because “if all these were available to Sodom may she could have repented” but look we have all these signs and warnings but close our ears.

Let us not despise people warning us because we are richer than them. Moses who is prepared to save Israel was drawn from water as we have heard in the first reading because God chooses the weak to shame the strong. Harden not your hearts but listen to voice of the Lord.

By Fr Achilles Kiwanuka

Whoever does the will of my Father is my brother

Dear Family of God,

Today God is continuing to show his compassion and mercy to the house of Israel has he leads them dry shod through the sea. All these were God’s efforts to win back Israel as a shepherd collects his sheep, so that Israel could be children of God.

Good sheep listen to the voice of the shepherd as Jesus told us last Sunday “My sheep listen to my voice.” When God shows us love as he did to Israel we should understand that it is an invitation to live according to God’s will. That is why in the gospel acclamation Jesus tells us “I a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him.” Following God’s commandments should not be out of force but ‘love.’

Whoever receives God’s word that word changes him and makes him an adopted child as John tells us “all those who received him he gave them power to become children of God.” St. Paul adds that “If we are children of God then we are brothers and heirs with the Lord Jesus.” That is why Jesus says “Whoever does the will of my Father is my brother, sister and mother.” Even his biological mother Mary is not his mother because he gave birth to him but because ‘she listened to the voice of God and did the will of his Father.’

On our part, let us keep our relationship with Christ not by being called Christians but by keeping God’s word. What a privilege to have Jesus and his Father come to us and live with us?

 

“I will always Protect them”

Memorial of St. Clare, Virgin

Dear Family of God,

Today we are celebrating the memorial of St. Clare, Virgin. She was born in a noble family in Assis, Italy. Her family wanted her to marry a reach young man but she refused and took refuge among the Franciscan Friars founded by St. Francis of Assis who later helped her together with her sister Agnes to found a congregation of Poor Clares.

Inspired by St. Francis she led a very austere life with long periods of fasting. She establish a very strict rule of life for her congregation which was approved by pope Innocent IV. She loved Mass and the Eucharist. When their convent was attacked she took the Eucharist and stood at the gate telling God “Defend those I cannot protect” and a voice answered her “I will always protect them”

Again, when she was in her deathbed all her companions left her for Mass. She cried to God “Look, I am left alone with you.” Immediately she started hearing the singing and the convent Mass on a wall as on a television. Probably with this in mind Pope Pius XII in 1958 declared her the patroness of television. It is interesting to note that one of the Poor Clare nuns, Mother Angelica founded probably the most evangelizing television Eternal Word Television Network in America.

On Sunday we were reminded to wake up and eat (the Eucharist) otherwise the journey is too long for us. Let us pray that through the example and intercession of St. Clare we may love the Eucharist and always be protected by it in our struggles against our enemies both physical and spiritual. We pray that in us the promise He gave to St. Clare may be fulfilled “I will always protect them.”

Following her example of humility and poverty let us be humble like little children as we are being admonished by Jesus in the Gospel; have the spirit of sacrifice which inspired St. Clare to abandon everything and embraced the life of poverty for sake of the Kingdom.

By Fr Kiwanuka

 

 

It is hard for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven

Dear Family of God,

Jesus is not against being rich in the real sense of the word. He is advocating being poor in spirit.

Why is it hard for a rich man to enter into heaven?

1. For that person who has put all his trust in his wealth it is hard to submit to God and keep his commandments.

2. For the person who is completely attached to wealth, it is hard for him to consider the poor because he thinks by helping the poor he will reduce his wealth.

3. It is hard for the rich person to think of another life. He thinks he has all that he needs and this is life. So he lives as if he will be here on earth for eternity.

4. Someone who is obsessed by wealth can do anything to get rich or to secure what he has even if it means killing others or trusting evil powers like devil worshiping or free masons.

The love of money is the source of all evils. Let us use money as the means to achieve the end; let us not take money as the end in itself. There is more in life than money.

By Fr Kiwanuka

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Dear Family of God,

Today we are celebrating the feast of the Nativity of our Mother Mary.

  • Through Mary the prophesy of hope by Isaiah is fulfilled “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isa.7:14). This was a message of hope to Ahaz and to all Israel in midist of dispair due to the impending attack from their enemies.
  • So, the birth of Mary ushered in the new era of hope and peace. The gospel tries to ground Jesus into the human family in the tribe of Judah where his mother Mary belongs.
  • This is what we heard on Sunday “Tell those who are troubled, take courage do not be afraid”
  • Prophet Micah continues this prophesy “He shall feed his flock. And this shall be peace”
  • Therefore, as we celebrate this feast, let as thank God who chose Mary to participate in a special way in the work of salvation to bring hope to the sinful world.
  • Let us pray that through her intercession that those people who are troubled and are experiencing sufferings and trying moments in their lives may find refuge and peace in God. That all of us in our capacities we may participate in making people smile again and that we may work for peace and harmony. That those who are financing wars may learn and work for peace. Mary Queen of Peace, pray for us.

By Fr Kiwanuka

 

A Sword will Pierce your Soul

Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrow

Dear Family of God,

Today we are celebrating the memorial our Lady of Sorrow. We are celebrating the martyrdom of Mary. Although Mary did not shed blood like other martyrs, because of the passion she endured with her Son especially standing by him on the Cross, she merited the crown of martyrdom.

On Sunday, Jesus told us to pick up our cross and follow him. Yesterday, we celebrated the exaltation of the Cross. Today we are given an example of one of us, our Lady of sorrow who in a special way participated in the passion and cross of her son. She carried her cross and followed her son. The prophesy of Simeon was fulfilled ‘A sword will pierce your soul.’ On the cross, the lance found Jesus already dead, but Mary could experience that sharp sword of sorrow piercing her soul when she saw her son die.

Meditating on all this I understand that Jesus and Mary suffered because of my sins. Let us then pray through the intercession of Our Lady of Sorrow that we may always feel sorrow because of our sins.

Mary is an example of carrying the cross and follow Jesus. Let us pray for the spirit of sacrifice and endurance when we have to pass through difficult moments in our lives.

“Is there anyone with sorrow like my sorrow?”

In a special way let us pray for all mothers who are suffering because of the love the have for their children with different problems: sickness, bad behaviour, lack of job and other live straggles.

Mary participated in a special way in the work of our salvation. Let us pray that we may endure all that we have to go through for the good of others.

 St. Peter tells us “ Rejoice when you share in the sufferings of Christ, that you may also rejoice exultantly when his glory is revealed” (1Pet. 4:13). Mchumia juani, hulia kivulini. Mary struggled with her son in the sun now she is enjoying with him the heavenly glory. Like Paul let us consider as nothing the difficult we have to pass through for the sake of the church because it cannot compare with the glory we shall share; after all by enduring suffering we are adding to what is lacking in the suffering of the church for the sake of his body the Church.

Mary our Lady of sorrow pray for us who are in different sorrows.

My Mother and My Brother

Dear Family of God,

Today, we are reminded of the wisdom of humility in doing God’s will. Entering the house of the Lord, as we hear from the first reading the responsorial psalm or being the mother or brother of Jesus as we hear from the Gospel does not depend on blood relationship. It is only for those who do the will of God.

The Jews especially the Pharisees were boasting of being friends of God and despised others especially the tax collectors. Yesterday, Jesus showed us how he is a friend of sinners by receiving Mathew the tax collector among his close group. Today, he says “My mother and brother are those who do the will of my father.”

This response of Jesus to those who told him that his mother was looking for him may seem that Jesus was rude to his mother and did not feel anything with the love of his mother. This is not the case. He wanted to show that his relationship with his mother is more than blood relationship. The dignity that his mother the Blessed Virgin Mary has is not because she is related to Jesus by blood but because she did the will of God “May it be done according to your will.” She is an icon of the wisdom from above – the wisdom of humility; she is an example of doing God’s will.

Let us pray for humility to accept the will of God for us because by living according to His will we become mothers and brothers of Jesus entering with joy into the house of the Lord.

 

You will see the Angels of God

Feast of Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

Dear Family of God,

Today we are celebrating the feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. The word angel means “someone sent, someone on a mission.” Angels are spirits created by God and serve him as messengers to us here on earth. Angels are given names to signify their power and the work they are sent to do.

Angels are many and according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life” (CCC 336) whom we call Guardian Angel. These three however, are called Archangels because of the importance of the message they carry. As their names suggest:

Michael means “Who is like God?” He is believed therefore, to be our defender and protector in battle(Rev 12:7-12).

Gabriel means “Power of God.” He is believed to have made important announcements of our history of salvation including the birth of John the Baptist; he announced to the Virgin Mary that she would be the mother of God (Lk 1:26-38). He is the one who informed the shepherds about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem .

Raphael means “Healing of God.” He is involved in God’s healing mission(Tob 3:17; 5:4; 12:15).

Why is their celebration brought in this 26th week? In this week as we started with the Sunday readings, we are reminded of the commandment of love; that there should not be anything we delight in more than the God’s commandments. These angels are presented to us as examples of perfect obedience to God’s commandments. They are “the mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word” (Ps 103:20).

Therefore, as we celebrate this feast let us thank God for his love by which he uses all means possible to reach out to us and make known his love and will. Let us thank him for the gift of these Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael and pray that we may always enjoy their service in our lives. Let us also pray that through their intercession and their example we may also have such love for God’s commandments that we may be ready to sacrifice anything that becomes between us and the will of God; that we may also have loving relationship with others, fighting like Michael against bad friendship; bringing message of hope like Gabriel and healing like Raphael to those who are bowed down and give them a ‘a cup of water’. Doing this we shall not miss a reward as Jesus promised us on Sunday and we shall “see greater things than these …heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man” as he has promised the humble Nathaniel in the Gospel.

Happy Feast Day.

For more information about Angels read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (328-336) or click here.

By Fr Kiwanuka

Both Service and Prayer are needed

Dear Family of God,

Love as the theme of this week teaches can be expressed in different ways. Martha is the symbol of service. She is busy serving the Lord with material things. Mary is deep in prayer, listening and meditating upon the word of God. Both are needed in right measures.

  • We need prayer so that we can know how to serve.
  • We need prayer so that we can identify our neighbor – that who needs our service.
  • We need prayer so that we can be able to serve.
  • But we need service so that we can put prayer and faith into action.

If we neglect prayer and immerse ourselves into service there danger

  • That we may offer charity when it is not needed
  • We may serve people for popularity not for God
  • We may fail to endure the cross that is involved in service

Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it

By Fr Kiwanuka

 

The Gospel makes us wise

28th Week – I

Dear Family of God,

St. Paul writing to the Romans in the first reading indicates to us the sources of God’s wisdom – The Gospel and Creation.

The fullness of God’s revelation is the Gospel of Jesus Christ because as we saw yesterday, Jesus Christ is the Wisdom of God. Therefore, following the Gospel we become wise; we know the truth and the truth make us free.

Even before Jesus, God has revealed himself in his creation. Looking at the orderly creation we are drawn to acknowledge and glorify the mind behind this creation. Therefore, even those who do not have the Gospel, have no excuse according to Paul because using their practical reason (conscience), they must be drawn to the knowledge of God. But as he says, may relying on their human philosophy, they admire at creation but they fail to apprehend the creator. This tells us more about moral values, which the church teaches. The church does not make moral values but she teaches what she has recognized to be true by using practical reason and the gospel – revelation.

Jesus has called the Pharisees ‘you fools.’ They are fools because they follow human wisdom which teaches to clean the outside while the inside is dirty.

Let us pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit so that we can form well our consciences so that they can guide us when we have to make moral decisions. May the Holy Spirit also enlighten us when we read the Gospel that we make find in it the guide of life because the Gospel makes us wise.

By Fr Kiwanuka

Blessed are they who serve

Dear Family of God,

Today, we continue with our message – servant leadership. God created us so that we may know him, love him, serve him and live with him eternally. So, here on earth, our mission is to serve God. We serve God in our neighbours because ‘whatever you did to one these little ones, you did it to me.’

Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake. It is important then to recognize that I must be a servant – I am created to serve. When he comes he will judge us by how we have served. Therefore, let us always ask ourselves ‘what have I done to the people I am living with? Am I awake in my service, am I putting myself at the service of my family, my subordinates at office? My employees at business?’

Look at how St. Luke puts it “He will put on his apron and have them sit at table and he will come and serve them.” God himself serving the servants! Why then shouldn’t we the servants serve God in our fellow servants?

Whichever position we may have let us consider the good and happiness of those put under us.  If Jesus comes and finds as this way bless are we.

By Fr Kiwanuka

Week 30

The parable of the mustard seed and of the yeast is meant to show us the characteristics of God’s Kingdom and the role expected of us, with respect to the propagation of that kingdom.

A mustard seed is described as a very small and tiny type of pip. When planted, contrary to its physical size, a mustard seed grows to become a huge tree that provides shelter for many birds. Rabinical laws forbade planting the mustard seed in the household garden lest it would spread fast and invade the vegetables.  The yeast, has similar characteristics. A small portion of it inflates the whole trough of flour for baking bread and feeding people.

The teaching Jesus wants to bring to our attention today is that:

The Kingdom of God has humble beginnings but it has the power of expanding and transforming. This Kingdom is everywhere, it is persistently present here and now. However, it is an unfinished project. It is ongoing.

On the individual level, this kingdom starts with embracing faith in Jesus Christ. It goes on through dedication of one’s life for the course of the Gospel. Like the seed that is to be buried in the ground or the yeast that needs to lose itself in the flour, we the Christians are expected to inflate the world with the gospel inspired deeds. Jesus in this parable confirms that in the realm of God what is very small can turn out to be very significant. Even our smallest acts of kindness can have a major impact than we can imagine. Thus Jesus motivates us that small initiatives taken in the service of the Lord, can create an opening for the Lord to work more powerfully in our favor. Moreover, the parable suggests that it is the small actions, the tiny initiatives, what goes unnoticed by most people, that can become the bearers of the Kingdom of God through us.

Let’s then  be patient and proactive to make the Kingdom of God grow within and trough us.

Generosity with Humility

Memorial of St. Leo the Great

 

Dear Family of God,

We continue with our message this week, with a spirit of sacrifice to be generous and put ourselves at the service of the needy and the church.

Today, Jesus tells us that we should recognize that whatever we are able to do is just by the grace of God; so we should not boast in anything we have done. This is a warning against the tendency of parading our generosity before the world so that we can be praised or recognized. When we have offered help we should not seek to be appreciated. We should just be happy that we have done what we were supposed to do because it is God doing it in us.

God “takes care of the orphan and the widow” as we sang last Sunday. But how does he do it? Through us. Therefore, when we have helped the needy we should be grateful to God that He has found us worth to participate in his work of taking care of the orphans and the widows.

As we saw on Sunday this requires the spirit of sacrifice, faith and hope in God. As the first reading tells us, that recognition that we were created not for this world but for immortality, gives us courage to rise from seeking the world and its praises but working for heaven even if the world does not recognize our contribution.

We are given an example of St. Pope Leo the Great. Theologically, he is remembered for issuing the Tome to Flavian. It was very influential at the Council of Chalcedon, the fourth ecumenical council, which addressed the dual nature of Christ. He was a proficient writer, composing 143 letters and over 96 sermons which add insight into the ecclesiastical practices of the time as well as speak in clear theological language. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1754 by Benedict XIV.

Let us pray through the intercession of St. Leo the Great that we offer our generosity in humility.

By Fr Kiwanuka

 

Everything will pass away

Dear Family of God,

Today’s readings continue the message we received last Sunday that all kingdoms and the world itself will pass away but the Kingdom of Christ will stand for eternity.

The interpretation by Daniel of the king’s dream in the first reading shows that kingdoms weak and strong, good and evil will rise but in the end all will fall and the Kingdom of God will last forever.

A similar scenario is created in the Gospel about the story of the well adorned temple. Jesus says even that temple will not be spared. However beautiful it is, it will one day come down.

This should remind us of the need to rethink on how we consider this world and its beauties and pleasures. They will all pass away as Paul tells us

“and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away. But I want you to be free from concern”

Moreover, the truth that the world will pass away is a source of hope. Even if we are passing through difficulties, trial moments, sufferings and persecutions we should not lose hope; they will pass away. This is what inspired St. Andrew Dung Lac and his 117 companions who suffered severe persecutions in Vietnam from 1745 to 1862. They stood firm in their faith. Look their principalities that persecuted them have passed away but the Kingdom of God they served stands for ever and they are rejoicing in that Kingdom.

Therefore, do not be afraid; everything will pass away.

Fr Kiwanuka

YEAR II

Job 3: 1-3, 11-17, 20-23 Lk. 9:51-56

Click here for full readings

From today’s Gospel we can draw two messages:

1. First, Jesus prepares his disciples for his passion and for their persecutions:

Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, as the time of his passion was drawing near. He was about to endure the scorn of the Jews. He was about to suffer at the hands of the scribes and Pharisees.  Jesus did not want the Apostles to be dismayed when they saw him suffering. He also wanted to prepare them for the persecutions that they would face from the Jewish authorities after his departure. He, so to speak, made the Samaritans’ hatred a preparatory exercise for the Apostles. That is why, when James and John, proposed to call down fire and destroy the Samaritans, He rebuked the disciples and gently restrained the sharpness of their fury, preventing them from reacting violently against the sinners or anyone who does them wrong. He rather persuaded them to be patient, like him, and to cherish a mind that is unmovable by rejection or enmity.

2. Secondly, Jesus teaches us not to revenge ourselves on our enemies.

Vengeance belongs to God, not to us. We ought to suffer wrong rather than take revenge. Jesus teaches us: “…to him that strikes you on one cheek offer the other too” (Lk. 6:29). We should not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good (Rom. 12.21). We are encouraged to avenge ourselves, as the saints did, by returning benefits for the evil done to us; such vengeance is divine. St. Steven prayed for his murderers. He was more grieved by the harm they did to themselves than the injury they did to him. When the Apostle James was thrown from the pinnacle of the Temple, we are told, he raised himself on his fractured knees to pray for his murderers. St. Augustine admonishes us that to revenge is self-destruction. Who does this is like the bee, he says, which revenges itself by stinging, but in doing so it dies!

Like Christ, let us deliberately accept the will of God in sufferings and in all forms of hardships.

 

MEMORIAL OF OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY

Acts 1:12-14

Luke 1:26-38

Click here for full readings

 

Today the Church celebrates the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary. The story around this feast dates back to the year 1571 when the powerful Ottoman Turks invaded Europe from the East in an attempt to weaken the Christendom and spread Islam.

The stage was set for a decisive naval battle at the Gulf of Lepanto, off the west coast of Greece. A naval victory for the Turks would secure an opening for the Turkish army to overrun Christian Europe.

Pope Pius V, the then Roman Pontiff, called for a crusade against the invading Turks. At that time, however, the Church was already weakened by the Protestant Reformation. Thus, very few countries responded. Consequently, the Turkish navy outnumbered the Christian fleet.

In response to the Pontiff’s plea, crew members on more than 200 ships prayed the Rosary in preparation for the battle – as did Christians throughout Europe, as they gathered in their churches to invoke the Virgin Mary against the daunting Turkish forces.

On October 7, 1571 the two forces fought heavily and the mighty Turkish navy was miraculously overwhelmed. It was popularly said that the Christian soldiers fought with swords in one hand and rosaries in the other. And it can be likewise said that the battle was won not with swords but with praying hands.

Indeed the simple, humble and powerful prayers of the rosary can achieve miracles and work wonders.

Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our Mother intercedes for us when we pray the rosary.

If we are constant and determined in praying the rosary, victory over any evil is surely guaranteed.

 

 

MEMORIAL OF ST. CALLISTUS I, Pope and Martyr

Gal. 5:1-6

Luke 11:37-41


Click here for full Readings

A Pharisee, after hearing Jesus preach, invited him to dinner; no doubt, because he wanted to hear more from this extraordinary man who spoke the word of God as no one else had done before. It was not uncommon for a rabbi to give a teaching over dinner. Jesus, however, did something unusual for a rabbi and offended his host. He did not perform the ritual of washing of hands before the meals. Jesus did not forget but he was deliberately performing a sign to reveal something to his host and to us. In fact, Jesus turned the table on his host by disapproving him for uncleanness of heart.

To God what is important is not clean hands but clean mind and heart. Jesus disapproves the harboring of evil thoughts that make us unclean spiritually, such as greed, pride, bitterness, envy, arrogance, hatred and the like.

Furthermore, Jesus urges us to give alms. When we give freely and generously to those in need we express love, compassion, kindness and mercy. If the heart is full of love and compassion, then there is no room for envy, greed, bitterness and their allies.

Such was the spiritual urge that drove Pope Callistus I attain sanctity. A slave in youth, St. Callistus was renowned for his mercy toward repentant sinners, thus incurring the criticism of many Rigorists, most notably Tertullian. He defended the faith against the adoptionist and modalist heresies regarding the Holy Trinity and the Person of Jesus Christ. He was martyred in Rome during the reign of Alexander Severus in 222.

Let us, in today’s Eucharistic celebration, ask the Lord Jesus to fill our hearts with His love and increase our thirst for holiness. Let him cleanse our hearts of every evil thought and desire; and help us to act kindly and justly; and speak charitably with our neighbors.

   

 

Eph. 2:12-22

Lk. 12:35-38

Click here for full readings

Jesus’ parable in today’s gospel has an important lesson for each one of us. Just as Jesus himself was faithful and ready to obey his Father in everything – even to the point of laying down his life for us on the cross, we, too are called to be faithful and ready to do whatever God’s requests of us. How can we serve as Jesus served and be faithful to the end of our days? Only love – the love which God has poured into our hearts through the Spirit which has been given to us – can transform us and fill us with joy and courage in offering our lives in humble service to God and to one another. The Lord Jesus sets us free from fear and selfish pride so we can love and serve  as he has loved us. Ask the Lord to give you a servant heart and a willing spirit that is ready to listen and eager to obey.

The watchful waiting hailed in today’s Gospel, however, applies also to our day to day life experiences. In that sense, it is considered not in terms of how long someone can wait but in terms of how well one behaves while waiting. An example would be when a loved one is away for a long period of time. While waiting for the return of the loved one, there could be many options available.

While waiting, there can be an involvement in another relationship, flirting or cheating. There can also be, just lovingly keeping on waiting until the loved one returns. That would be what true love is.

The reward of such partners, according to the gospel, will be beyond their expectation. Jesus says that, in such a case, even the master will serve the faithful servant.

If Jesus rewards so abundantly those who are faithful to him, then how do we ourselves treat those who have been faithful to us?

Do we at least make it known to them that their faithfulness to us is a treasure to us and that we can only hope to be equally faithful to them when the time calls for it? Let us give thanks to the Lord for His faithfulness to us and for those who have been with us through thick and thin. They are indeed “God’s gifts”.

 

Eph. 2: 19-22

          Lk. 6:12-19

Today’s Gospel passage denotes the wonder of God’s call. When Jesus begun his mission he chose twelve men to be his close friends and apostles. He chose very ordinary people. They were non-professionals. They had no wealth nor position. They were chosen from the common people who did ordinary things, had no special education, and no social advantages. Jesus wanted ordinary people who could take an assignment and do it extraordinarily well. He chose these men, not for what they were, but for what they would be capable of becoming under his direction and power. Saints Simon and Jude are a living testimony to this.

St. Simon, was born at Cana, a town in Galilee. In this town, Jesus performed his first miracle, by changing water into wine. St. Jude, the brother of Simon, is called Thaddeus to distinguish him from the other Jude or Judas’ who betrayed and sold the Lord. Tradition has it that Mary Cleophas was their mother, and James the Less their brother.

After Pentecost, when the Apostles dispersed to preach the Gospel, St. Simon went to Egypt and St. Jude to Mesopotamia. Both however, were also in other lands, to preach the word of Christ, and after thus spending 30 years in apostolic labors, they met again in Persia. It is here that they were executed by heathens as they refused to offer incense to idols. Simon was cut asunder with a saw and Jude was beheaded. In this manner these two holy Apostles ended their lives and earned the glorious crown of martyrdom.

When the Lord calls us to serve, we must not shrug back because we think that we have little or nothing to offer. The Lord takes what ordinary people, like us, can offer and uses it for greatness in his kingdom. Let us pray our Lord Jesus Christ to inflame our hearts with a burning love for him and with an expectant faith in his saving power.

Let him take our lives and all that we have as an offering to Him, who is our All.

 

MEMORIAL OF ST. CHARLES BORROMEO, BISHOP

Phil. 2:5-11

Luke 14:15-24

Click here for full readings

To eat bread in the kingdom of heaven is a notable sign of favor and intimate friendship with God. In ancient times, a sign of friendship and merit was the invitation to “share bread” at the dinner table. Who you ate with showed who you valued and trusted as your friends. One of the most beautiful images of heaven in the scriptures is the royal wedding celebration and banquet given by the King for his son and  friends. We, in fact, have been invited to the most important banquet of all! The book of Revelation ends with an invitation to the wedding feast of the Lamb and his Bride, the church: The Spirit and the Bride say, Come! (Revelations 22:17). The ‘Lamb of God’ is the Lord Jesus Christ and his bride is the people he has redeemed by his own precious blood which was shed upon the cross for our salvation.

What astonishes in this parable is the attitude of the invitees. They made light of the King’s request because they put their own interests above his.

Jesus surveys the reasons why people make excuses to God’s great invitation to “eat bread” with him at his banquet table. The first excuse allows the claims of one’s personal business or work to take precedence over God’s claim. The second excuse allows our possessions to come before God. The third excuse puts home and family ahead of God.

The second part of the story focuses on those who had no claim on the king and who would never have considered getting such an invitation. The “poor, maimed, blind, and lame” represent the marginalized in society – those who can make no claim on the King. There is ample room at the feast of God even for such people. Furthermore, there is room for outsiders from the highways and hedges – the Gentiles who were not members of the chosen people. This is an invitation of grace – undeserved, unmerited favor and kindness. But this invitation also contains a warning for those who refuse it or who approach the wedding feast unworthily. Grace is a free gift but, at the same time, it is a tremendous responsibility. It involves following Jesus Christ bearing his cross.

Today, the Church commemorates the feast of St. Charles Borromeo, bishop (1538-1584). He is a role model of accepting God’s invitation. During his service as Bishop of Milan (Northern Italy), many people were converted to a better life because he took the initiative in giving good examples. He allotted most of his income to charity, forbade himself all luxury and imposed severe penances upon himself. He sacrificed wealth, high honors, esteem and influence to become poor. During the plague and famine of 1576, he tried to feed 60,000 to 70,000 people daily. To do this he borrowed large sums of money that required years to repay. Whereas the civil authorities fled at the height of the plague, he stayed in the city, where he ministered to the sick and the dying, helping those in want. Work and the heavy burdens of his high office affected his health. He died at the age of 46.

In brief, today’s gospel and the Saint of the day, remind us that God invites us daily. We have to respond positively to his invitation without any excuse whatsoever. God never meant for our home and relationships to be used selfishly. We serve God best when we invite him into our work, our homes, and our personal lives and when we share our possessions with others.

 

 

MEMORIAL OF ST. MARTIN OF TOURS, BISHOP

Tit. 2:1-8;11-14

Luke 17:7-10

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Today the Church commemorates the feast of St. Martin of Tours. He is honored as patron of France and founder of monasticism there. Martin was born in the present  Hungary in 316. His parents were pagans. His father was an officer in the Roman army.  Martin was also pressured to serve as a soldier but later he obtained a discharge in order to pursue his religious calling as a monk.

While he was establishing himself and some followers in monastic life – he was elected bishop of Tours by popular acclaim in 372. He accepted the position but preferred to live separately from the cathedral with the monks. As a Bishop, Martin was very much concerned with his flock. He frequently visited them in their homes and personally attended to their needs. It is noted that he even used the power of healing among them. He courageously went about destroying pagan shrines and idols in his diocese and replaced them with churches.

Martin’s sainthood was exhibited before his baptism. His generosity was extremely moving. In one incident Martin is said to encounter a man freezing without warm clothing near a gate of the city. As his fellow soldiers passed by the man, Martin stopped and cut his own cloak into two halves with his sword, giving one half to the freezing beggar. That night, the un baptized soldier saw Christ in a dream, wearing the half-cloak he had given to the poor man. Jesus declared: “Martin, a catechumen, has clothed me with this garment.”

Even in old age, Martin continued to live an ascetic life focused on the care of souls. His disciple and biographer, St. Sulpicius Severus, reports that bishop Martin helped all people with their moral, intellectual and spiritual problems. He also helped many laypersons discover their calling to the consecrated life of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Like few other saints, Martin foresaw his own death and told his disciples of it. At his deathbed he is said to have prayed  “Lord, if I am still necessary to thy people, I refuse no labour. Thy holy will be done”. He developed a fever, but did not sleep, passing his last several nights in the presence of God in prayer. “Allow me, my brethren, to look rather towards heaven than upon the earth, that my soul may be directed to take its flight to the Lord to whom it is going,” he told his followers, shortly before he died in November of 397.

It is this attitude that Jesus wants to disseminate to all of us in today’s Gospel. We should not be expecting gratitude from the people we are serving nor expect anything in return from God for making sacrifices. God has given us the privilege of being His Chosen people and we are assured of His grace and mercy.

In one of his homilies, Pope Benedict XVI, expressed his hope “that all Christians may be like St Martin, generous witnesses of the Gospel of love and tireless builders of jointly responsible sharing.”

In today’s Eucharistic celebration, let us humbly thank God for His daily calling and ask for the grace of fulfilling our duties responsibly.

 

Revelation 3:1-6,14-22

Luke 19: 1-10

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Today’s Gospel  brings to our attention another extraordinary way of Jesus’ dealing with sinners. In the time of Jesus, tax collectors were despised and treated with contempt because they overcharged people and accumulated great wealth at the expense of others.

Zacchaeus was not only a tax collector, but a chief tax collector. Hence, he was much hated by all people. At the surprise of all, he was singled out by Jesus for the honor of staying at his home. Jesus did take that  move because Zacchaeus needed God’s merciful love  and forgiveness. In his encounter with Jesus, he found more than he imagined. This led to total change of life and history.

Zacchaeus, in turn, showed the depth of his repentance by deciding to give half of his possession to the poor and to use the remaining half for making compensation for his fraud. His testimony was more than mere words. His change of heart resulted in change of life.

The story of Zacchaeus highlights a very important aspect of Jesus. Jesus is always ready to make his home with each one of us. Let us also have the courage to make a room for him in our hearts and in every area of our lives and he will make us better people.

 

 

NO ONE STONE WHICH WILL BE LEFT UPON ANOTHER

The Jerusalem Temple was so beautiful that no Jew could ever imagine that one day it would be destroyed. But as Jesus prophesied, in 70AD Jerusalem fell under the Romans and the Temple was pulled down to dust.

Sometimes we are amazed by the pleasures of this world and we live and search for money as if this life will not end. It is not bad to make the world beautiful and to adorn our bodies; but this should not be done at the expense of our spiritual life because “No one stone which will be left upon another.

 

3 Responses to “Tuesday”

  • RANIEL:

    Christ,thy Kingdom come, thank you Father for sharing with us the word this morning.

    Our hearts are hardened by the worldly distractions, we’ve drawn our attention to technological advancements, greed, corruption, adultery/fornication, theft,murder, and other material worship.

    It’s a christian solemn duty to live like Christ, live by example to others. This is the only way we can show that we’ve read and understood the Word of God.

    Humility is key in all our ways in our daily lives, a perfect example, is Jesus when He accepted and humbled Himself to an extent of dying on the cross because of our sins. He decided to open up His sacred heart and listen to God.

    We thank God for the gift of life, and the many blessings that He has bestowed in our lives.

    Let’s pray and request Him to send us His Holy Spirit to helps remember the vows we took during our baptism and confirmation, to always stand by His word and draw more people to His Kingdom.

    We also pray for our religious leaders, that God may grant them the graces they need to help Christians to understand the word of God, and always listen to His voice, and be ready to positively respond to His Holy Will.

    God bless our leaders, God bless us all. Amen

  • machumilane:

    Thanks be to God. You are encouraging us. Be blessed.

  • RANIEL:

    Wow! Thank you Father for that great insight. I am blessed this morning. God bless our leaders, God bless us all.

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